Today's "oldies" radio stations seem to recognize only two Buddy Holly hits, "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue," but the rest of the Holly catalog doesn't seem to get much play. This collection is a welcome reminder that Holly was one of the recording industry's most prolific singer-songwriters, and the music of Buddy Holly and the Crickets is as enjoyable today as it was 40 years ago. The 50-song compilation opens with a fair sampling of Holly's pre-stardom recordings, heavily influenced by Elvis Presley. Then come the hits ("Rave On," "Oh Boy," "Maybe Baby," etc.), some terrific B-sides ("Everyday," "Tell Me How"), and the more sophisticated "strings sessions" ("True Love Ways," "Raining in My Heart"). This writer's one complaint about this collection is that Holly's last recordings, released posthumously, are largely overlooked. The few that are included have "surf guitar" overdubs and edits which were added in the mid-'60s. That's the only false step in this otherwise commendable anthology tracing Buddy Holly's too-brief career. Casual fans will like it; confirmed Holly addicts will love it.
Buddy Holly's influence on rock 'n' roll cannot be measured by chart success (he had only three top ten singles) nor by a lengthy recording career (only three years: his first Decca single "Blue Days" was recorded April 1956 and his final New York apartment recordings were done January 1959--days before the fatal Feb. 3 plane crash). Until MCA rereleases The Complete Buddy Holly (which included EVERYTHING Holly recorded, including demos and some interviews over six CDs), the 50-track on The Buddy Holly Collection does a superb job of summing up Holly's career.
This collection begins with two demos cut while he was still in his teens: the rockabilly "Down the Line" and country ballad-influenced "Soft Place in My Hear." In addition, there's the instrumental "Holly Hop" recorded in the Holley family garage in Lubbock (with overdubbing provided by the Fireballs).
Holly's first studio recordings were produced by the legendary Owen Bradley and clearly shows the influence of country music on Holly's early recordings like "Blue Days," while "Love Me" and "Midnight Shift" point the direction Holly would go during the rest of his all too short career.
Holly and the Crickets became the blueprint for self-contained groups--writing and recording their own music. With his trademark "hiccup" vocal style and impeccable guitar leads, Holly recorded numerous rock classics: "That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue," "Well...All Right," "Think It Over." But his album tracks are just as good: "Words of Love" (lovingly covered by the Beatles), "Learning the Game," "Wishing," "Crying, Waiting, Hoping," the list goes on and on.
In addition to all the great music, the informative 28-page booklet has track-by-track notes and numerous photos. If your budget can afford only one Holly album, this is the one to get. ESSENTIAL
on June 3, 2003
This is a very good collection of Buddy's essential songs but I have to wonder why they didn't include his great cover of "Bo Diddley" as well as a couple more of the songs that were recorded as demos and later overdubbed and released after his death (such as "Love Is A Strange", "That Makes It Tough", "That's What They Say" or the raw demo version of "You're The One" which is a fantastic but pretty much forgotten track). I also believe "Don't Come Back Knockin'", "Last Night" and "It's Not My Fault" would have been stronger choices than "Look At Me", "Little Baby" and "You've Got Love". I can understand why only a few of his earliest recordings were included as most were not of very high fidelity. The three tracks included (tracks 1-3) help show the listener how his musical styles progressed and are good choices.
I think the cd could use a remastering with today's technology. Some of the tracks sound a bit better on my vinyl copy of "The Complete Buddy Holly" which is the collection every serious Buddy Holly fan should own (I have the cassette tape version too but it has poor sound quality - a lot of hiss and not much high end and not recorded with Dolby noise reduction either. I recommend buying the record set if you can find it...it also includes liner notes missing from the cassette set). Sadly, "The Complete Buddy Holly" is not available on cd because of some squabbles over publishing rights so "The Buddy Holly Collection" is the most complete collection available on cd at the moment as far as I know.
I like the fact that they put the non-overdubbed versions of tracks such as "Baby, Won't You Come Out Tonight", "I'm Gonna Set My Foot Down", "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" and "Reminiscing" on this collection as the overdubbed versions lack the raw energy of the originals. Also, good choice to use the Norman Petty overdub versions of his final recordings as they sound more polished and less like demos than Jack Hansens' versions.
So, even with my complaints I have to give this cd collection 5 stars because of what it DOES include which is most of Buddy's best.
on May 25, 2006
It's impossible to overstate the influence Buddy Holly had on rock n' roll. It has been said that Buddy Holly was the beginning of the 1960's musically.He was a MASSIVE influence on the British Invasion. Were it not for Buddy Holly, it's doubtful that the Beatles would've happened. What Buddy Holly and the Crickets laid down on tape for producer Norman Petty at his Clovis, NM studio was nothing short of revolutionary. This cd goes from the straight up hillbilly and rockabilly of Holly Hop and his early Decca sessions at the Bradly Barn, all the way to the absolutely STUNNING orchestral pop of True Love Ways and Raining in My Heart from his very last session a month before the plane crash that took the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Keep in mind that this was nearly all done within the space of 2 1/2 years. Many singers and songwriters don't cover the amount of stylistic ground that Buddy and the Crickets covered in 20 years, much less 2 1/2. And Buddy put his soul into all of it. Many artists music don't have anywhere near the joyfulness and HEART that Buddy's music had. This music IS STILL influencing musicians and gaining younger fans because of it. There was simply nothing else like Buddy. There are 50 tracks here, and ALL are essential Buddy. This music has not dated at all, and still sounds as fresh as it did nearly 50 years ago.To my ears, it sounds fresher than some things released 5 months ago. My only complaint is that the version of Peggy Sue Got Married included here is the Fireballs version, with it's completely inappropriate surf guitar lead that nearly drowns out Buddy's vocals. There was another version of this done(overdubbed by the Jack Hansen Combo, I believe) that to my mind is far superior and sounds closer to how Buddy probably intended it to. And as another reviewer said these cd's do not use all of their 80 minute running time. I can think of a few tracks that I think should've been included, like That's What They Say from the famous demos that he made shortly before his death in his apartment in Greenwich Village. But all in all, if you're new to Buddy, GET THIS. You'll be thankful you did. But it's hard to listen to this and not think about what else he could've achieved if he hadn't died at such a young age.
on October 22, 1999
I was a 14-year-old newspaper delivery boy when Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959. Eerily, as in Don McClean's quintessential "American Pie," I literally found the "bad news on the doorstep" as I unbundled my copies of the Boston Herald-Traveler that cold wintry morning. "I don't remember if I cried," but I'm sure I did. The two CD's in this set are a "must have" for any true rock 'n' roll fan, for Buddy Holly WAS rock 'n' roll. Included here is just about every significant song he recorded, including early demos made at Norman Petty's Clovis, New Mexico studio; as well as tapes Buddy recorded alone in his New York apartment (which were subsequently set to overdubbed accompaniment and released after his death). As a fanatical Holly fan in my youth, I thought I knew all of his work. Boy, was I wrong! I had never heard some of the demos that clearly were influenced by the Elvis Presley/Scotty Moore/Sam Phillips collaborations. Listen to "Down The Line" and "The Holly Hop" and you'll inderstand. Holly's music changed the way rock music was to be written and played. As you listen to this rich assortment you will hear the progress that was just emerging before his untimely death - a new style that was taken up by the later icons of rock music such as Roy Orbison, John Lennon and Eric Clapton. If you loved Buddy Holly, you'll love this!
on March 23, 2000
First of all, I was born in 1966...long after the day the music died.
In 1980, I was a fourteen year-old paper boy delivering papers when I read about John Lennon's widow bride. Two weeks later at Christmas, my brother gave me the Beatles' Greatest Hits and I became a huge fan. It was in college, discovering the Beatles influences that, when I picked up my first Buddy Holly record. I still find the Beatles music second to none but I am just amazed by this young rocker from Texas.
This collection has it all. Well, almost. Purists will miss the more honky-tonk version of Rock Around With Ollie Vee, An Empty Cup a Broken Date, as well as a few of his later songs. You will immediately recognize the hits Oh Boy, That'll be The Day, Peggy Sue. After a few more listens you will realize that this is an astounding collection of many, many great songs. Buddy Holly sings, writes, and plays the guitar like a young man thrilled about his new found passion - Rock and Roll. The music is nuts and bolts Rock and Roll with the occasional twang, a little bit of soul, and a ton of melody. You can see why the Beatles were so impressed.
Personal favorites: Fool's Paradise, Reminiscing, Modern Don Juan, Blue Days. If you love Rock and Roll, this has to be part of your collection.
on September 28, 1998
Once again we are reminded just how good Buddy Holly really was, and the tremendous loss to the music industry that was suffered nearly 40 years ago. To listen to this collection and hear the music once again fresh, new, clear and vibrant is almost a shock.
To understand just how much effort was involved in making the music sound simple one should take the time to listen on earphones to 'listen To Me' and 'Words Of Love' or to hear the beauty of 'True Love Ways' or 'It Doesn't Matter Any More'.
Everybody knows 'Peggy Sue' and 'Oh Boy' and the other standards but the other gems in Buddy Holly's music go unrecognised. The Rock'N'Roll of 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man' and 'Tell Me How' to the exhilaration of 'You Got Love' and, a classic in it's own right, 'Early In The Morning'
This album is a 'must have' in every collection which wants to even just hint at containing good Rock'N'Roll.
All the best and so long,
Visit my Buddy Holly web-site
on September 30, 2003
This is a marvelous collection if you're only sampling Buddy Holly's music. It contains his greatest hits, but still omits some of his best music, so beware. Most people listening to Buddy's music for the first time can never stop at just one CD, so this will serve as a fine introduction to some of the best music you'll ever hear. Though these songs are all more than 45 years old, they wear well and are timeless.
Most casual rock fans can name only a few Holly tunes: That'll Be the Day and Peggy Sue, but there is so much more than that. This collection includes two of his most haunting, beautiful ballads, True Love Ways and Raining in My Heart. Listen to the innovative string arrangements on these tunes and you'll plainly know why Paul McCartney (who owns the Holly musical catalogue)adopted these arrangements ten years later as a Beatle.
Perhaps the best song on the album is the amazing It Doesn't Matter Anymore, about a love gone wrong. Again, the string arrangement is years ahead of its time and makes you ponder what might have been had Holly's life not ended so tragically and prematurely. He was a genuine innovator and talent. This compilation proves that.
on September 15, 2005
There's a lot more to Buddy Holly than "Peggy Sue." Anyone who grew up listening to "Top 40" in the 60s, 70s, and/or 80s will appreciate Holly's earlier versions of songs that became hits for Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, the Rolling Stones, Peter & Gordon, the Beatles. Holly did not actually write all these songs. ("It Doesn't Matter Any More" was written by Paul Anka, for example.) But he had a hand in writing many of them, and he definitely put his stamp on all of them. Holly's "True Love Ways" is so beautiful it brings a tear to your eye, and the saxophone accompaniment is much more lyrical than what you got on the Peter & Gordon cover. One thing I like about the pre-psychedelic classic rock is the simple instrumentation and the lack of distortion - it's the kind of sound that your children think of as "corny," unless their musical heroes are imitating it. Also, with very young artists like Holly, there is the sense of the musician just beginning to find his sea-legs. I am thinking of the guitar work here, but you could say the same about the songwriting and the production. The first of the two discs runs for a while on a decidedly rockabilly and doo-wop style (Holly's version of "Not Fade Away" is both, and nothing like the Stones' version with its wailing blues harp), but his signature tunes clearly pre-figure Beatles-type melody and call-and-answer. Suddenly, on Disc 2, Holly bursts out of the box with "Early in the Morning." He makes good use of his well-known voice alterations on this stand-up and shout piece, but it's all high energy. If he'd only had a full gospel choir behind him it would be enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck. The Helen Way Singers do a pretty fine job, as it is. The lyrics on "Love's Made a Fool of You" and "Learning the Game" show some maturation from the early peevish-boy and sweet-love lyrics of his more famous hits like "That'll Be the Day," "Words of Love," and "Maybe Baby," or the ingenuous "Oh Boy!" You wonder how he would produce and sing these songs today. You wonder if he would have become a straight-ahead country star or an eclectic songsmith. It's clear that Holly was one of the truly great talents of his and our time.
on February 4, 2000
As it stands, this is the best domestic overview of Buddy Holly. In this state it delivers on a number of levels.
For instance...the booklet! Chock full of photos, album covers, and detailed liner notes, track information, etc.
Excellent sound quality! For the first time, Raining In My Heart in stereo! Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Baby Won't You Come Out Tonight, and a few others from the CD For The First Time Anywhere, without the annoying Fireball overdubs!
The Fireball overdubs of the apartment tracks: Peggy Sue Got Married, Crying Waiting Hoping, What To Do, and Learning The Game (far superior than the Jack Hansen overdubs from 1960).
Those are some of the hits! That having been said, the set also manages to have a few annoying misses!
First, why only two tracks with Bob Montgomery (that were on Holly In The Hills). Where is The Door To My Heart, and Baby, Let's Play House?
Why none of the garage tracks that appeared on the 1964 album Showcase like Shake Rattle And Roll?
Where is Bo Diddley from the Reminiscing album? And the only track we get from Giant is Holly Hop, a fireball overdubbed instrumental. This is the weakest track on it! Where is Love Is Strange (the hit single)? Where is You're The One (from this album, or unoverdubbed from Showcase)? Where is Dearest?
Legal difficulties are preventing future CDs to come out. What we need is The Complete Buddy Holly as a CD box set. I was hoping for that last year (it was the 40th anniversary of Buddy's death). However, a rep at the record company that releases his product tosses out the idea whenever he's ever asked. He did it with me via e-mail!
So, we just have to wait. Maybe we'll see more Buddy Holly product. For now, we'll have to settle for this. Thankfully, it offers alot to settle for!